Ways to Put a Lid on Cloud Waste
It’s easy to underuse and overspend on cloud assets. The good news is that there are tools and practices that IT can apply to better manage cloud assets and tamp down the waste. Here how to determine if you are throwing money away.
In 2020, annual company cloud waste was estimated at $17 billion, largely lost on idle and excess resources. This was according to Jay Chapel, CEO and co-founder of ParkMyCloud.
Chapel should know. His company makes a business out of helping corporate IT departments identify wasted cloud assets and excess spend. “For example, one healthcare IT provider was found to be wasting up to $5.24 million annually on their cloud spend -- an average of more than $1,000 per resource per year,” he said.
Cloud waste is also why it might be a good time to bring in a cloud auditor to evaluate usage and spend. In this way, overages in cloud spend can be identified and eliminated. Alternately, IT could perform its own internal audit.
There are many places to look for cloud waste. The first is over-deployment of cloud resources that can result in “cloud sprawl.”
Cloud sprawl is most likely to occur when cloud resources get provisioned from multiple points within an enterprise without centralized coordination. This results in departmental “cloud silos” of activity since there is no central control point for cloud budgeting, tracking or usage.
Many companies attempt to tackle this problem of cloud silos by placing IT in the role of a centralized cloud management agent. Companies might even invest in an IT asset management system that is supposed to track and monitor every IT asset in the enterprise, so the enterprise knows how much it has -- and also how much it is spending on that IT.
Unfortunately, even IT asset tracking systems have their limits. For instance, there might be a standalone cloud-based application that users access through an internet portal, but that doesn’t present itself on the networks that IT tracks. HR payroll, benefits and insurance systems that are signed into through internet portals are examples of this. In these cases, the cloud usage may not be visible --although the costs associated with them certainly will be.
A detailed audit of all enterprise cloud resources can uncover situations like this, because the auditor not only looks at assets tracked by an asset management system -- he or she also interviews individual user departments about the applications and systems they use. This is how the hidden cloud use gets uncovered.